Squash soup with Parmesan croutons
This fantastic soup is best made with varieties of squash that have dense, orange flesh, such as butternut or onion squash. It’s important to use good chicken stock and season the soup well to bring out the nutty, sweet flavour of the squash. Once you’ve mastered this recipe, you can take the soup in different ways by adding pearl barley, dried pasta, or some chopped smoked bacon. Even the smallest amount of dried porcini. PS I made this in my pressure cooker the other day, with really great results – it’s so quick!
Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry for around 30 seconds or until dark green and crisp. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with kitchen paper – you’ll use these for sprinkling over at the end. In the pan you’ll be left with a beautifully flavoured oil, so put it back on the heat and throw in your onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chilli and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around half an hour.